- Keith Hickey

When the MLS SuperDraft (formerly the College Draft) rolls around every year, there's a predictable pattern. The players seen as having the highest potential or the ability to contribute immediately are snapped up earliest, leaving those players seen as less likely to have significant pro careers to make up the numbers in later rounds. But those castoffs don't always end up on the reject pile of MLS washouts. Sometimes, they end up being solid contributors to their clubs. And once in a while, you find a true gem in the later rounds. Here's our list of the top "sleeper" picks in MLS Draft history.

10. Ante Razov - 3rd Round, 27th Overall, 1996
The very last forward selected in the very first draft, Razov went on to become the third highest scorer in MLS history, one of just six players to pass 100 goals, and the all-time leader in shots taken. In a fifteen year career, he won the MLS Cup, three US Open Cups, and a Supporters Shield, and is still Chicago's all-time lead scorer.

9. Nick Rimando - 3rd Round, 35th overall, 2000
The third keeper selected in the 2000 draft, behind Adin Brown and Jon Conway, Rimando is arguably the best keeper in MLS today. He won the starting job at Miami the year before they folded despite winning the Supporters Shield, won an MLS Cup in D.C. while engaged in one of the most legendary keeper duels in league history with Troy Perkins, and then became one of the building blocks for the current success of Real Salt Lake, winning the 2009 MLS Cup.

8. Jack Jewsbury - 5th Round, 43rd Overall, 2003
How highly do MLS higher-ups think of the fifth round? Well, nowadays, they don't even bother to have it during the SuperDraft. The later rounds have been moved to a glorified conference call called the "Supplemental" Draft, usually for teams to fill out their preaseason cone quota. Jewsbury was one of these fifth-rounders, and certainly proved to be more than a name filling out the roster. He played almost 200 games for Kansas City over eight years, and was part of the Open Cup winning team of 2004.

7. Jesse Marsch - 3rd Round, 21st Overall, 1996
Jesse Marsch may have been one of the last players taken in the very first College Draft, but he's made quite a career out of being Bob Bradley's "guy." Bradley was Marsch's coach at Princeton, and as assistant for United, brought the midfielder to D.C. in the inaugural College Draft. Bradley then traded for Marsch when he moved to the Chicago Fire, and later to Chivas USA. After Marsch's retirement in 2010, Bradley appointed him his assistant for the USMNT. But Marsch's career was more than favoritism. He played over 300 games for D.C., Chicago, and Chivas, became the first player to win 3 MLS Cups, along with 3 US Open Cups, and is one of three players to appear in each of the first 14 MLS seasons.

6. Jeff Parke - 6th Round, 60th Overall, 2004
In the NFL, the very last pick in their Draft is known as "Mr. Irrelevant," reflecting the low expectations for such a late draft pick. In MLS, expectations are similar for the last player picked. Players taken last often don't make their teams, or clubs use the pick to secure the rights of a promising player who has left for Europe. Jeff Parke was the very last pick in 2004, but he was far from irrelevant. He played 143 games over five seasons for the New York Red Bulls and is now a member of the Seattle Sounders.

5. Davy Arnaud - 5th Round, 50th Overall, 2002
Kansas City do like their fifth rounders, don't they? Like Jack Jewsbury a year later, Davy Arnaud was selected by the team formerly known as The Wizards in the fifth round, but unlike most of the Junior College seniors making up the numbers in the later rounds, the attacking midfielder has gone on to play 220 games for Kansas City, and was named captain last year.

4. Edson Buddle - 3rd Round, 27th Overall, 2001
Here's a list of forwards taken before Edson Buddle in the '01 draft: Eddie Johnson, Ali Gerba, Brian Ching, Devin Barclay, Rodrigo Faria, Isaias Bardales, Santino Quaranta, Ali Curtis, Chris Carrieri. An here's a list of players who scored fewer MLS goals than him: Eddie Johnson, Ali Gerba, Brian Ching, Devin Barclay, Rodrigo Faria, Isaias Bardales, Santino Quaranta, Ali Curtis, Chris Carrieri. For those of you who were following closely. And while Ching has had an excellent MLS career, and Eddie Johnson is a grown ass man, none of the other players had particularly sterling careers in MLS.

3. Eddie Lewis - 3rd Round, 23rd Overall, 1996
Eddie Lewis was drafted in the final round of the very first MLS College Draft, the final selection by the San Jose Clash. After establishing himself as a starter with the Clash, Lewis embarked upon a successful career in England, playing over 200 games and becoming a cult hero at Leeds United. He earned 82 caps with the U.S. and made two World Cup squads.

2. Jonathan Bornstein - 4th Round, 37th Overall, 2006
When you draft a player in the fourth round, the most you really hope for is that he becomes a solid contributor sometime in the future. You certainly don't expect him to switch positions with such effectiveness that he becomes runaway Rookie of the Year. Coming out of UCLA, Jonathan Bornstein was a forward. After a year and some tinkering by coach Bob Bradley, he was playing left back for the U.S. National Team.

1. Kevin Hartman - 3rd Round, 29th Overall, 1997
There were three goalkeepers selected in the 1997 Draft. The first, Scott Coufal, played five pro games with two teams and washed out. The second, Tom Presthus, hung around for seven years, played just over 100 games and earned a single cap for the USMNT. The final goalkeeper, the second to last pick overall, broke almost every goalkeeping record in the league. After fifteen seasons in Major League Soccer, Kevin Hartman holds the goalkeeping records for most games played, starts, minutes played, wins (and losses), and saves. He’s won 2 Supporters Shields, 2 MLS Cups, 2 Open Cups, and a goalkeeper of the year award. Not bad for a guy who almost wasn't picked.

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